Tunisia has historically been a strategically critical "thumb" jutting north into the Mediterranean and towards Europe. The importance of Tunisia becomes clearer daily as ISIS targets the war-torn country with terror tactics designed to grow its caliphate and consolidate its base of operations in north Africa. It is no surprise, then, that ISIS claims responsibility for the latest terrorist event in Tunisia, a hotel attack that killed 38 at a seaside resort.
ISIS now is reportedly offering captured sex slaves as "prizes" for Koran memorization competitions in Syria. Contestants placing in the top three are promised the award of sibya, or female slaves captured by ISIS in war. This practice is being done, according to ISIS announcements on Twitter, to mark the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
A new State Department analysis confirms ISIS has overtaken al-Qaeda as the world's leading terrorist group.
ISIS is seeking to earn the trust of those in its conquered territories by providing public services and "stitching itself deeper into the fabric of the communities it controls," according to a recent analysis.
Australian intelligence reports have concluded ISIS and its agents have amassed enough radioactive material to build a "dirty" nuclear weapon. Julie Bishop, Australia's foreign minister, has expressed concern ISIS has gained such material from research facilities and hospitals. Security and intelligence experts have long feared Pakistan to be another large, possible source. ISIS has publicly vowed to build such a weapon, with the United States as one potential target. ISIS has suggested it can smuggle such a weapon through America's porous southern border with Mexico.
Dr. Samuel Johnson once famously observed that the prospect of an imminent hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully. When will U.S. policymakers follow this sage counsel and concentrate their minds on the gathering storm that is ISIS?
In Libya, the site of multiple, videotaped executions of Christians by ISIS, comes news that ISIS has kidnapped 88 more Christians. These captives, originally from the east African country of Eritrea, reportedly traveled to Libya to a staging area from which they could attempt the hazardous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. ISIS militants separated the Muslims from the Christians after questioning and identifying each group based on their knowledge of the Koran and Muslim practices.
ISIS also clams to have taken a power plant in Sirte from which the central and western parts of Libya receive electricity.
Almost a year after ISIS began conquering in earnest territory once held by U.S. troops in Iraq, President Barack Obama has stated publicly his administration still has no "complete strategy" to stop the growing, self-described caliphate. Standing alongside American allies in Europe, Obama essentially blamed Iraqis and the Iraqi government for failing to meet recruiting and training goals. Obama says he awaits yet another Pentagon assessment of the viability of Iraqi security forces before forging a comprehensive U.S. strategy. Obama's statement comes following ISIS's recent capture of major cities and swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, the heartland of the nascent radical Islamic state. These include the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra.
In the 2016 campaign to select the next commander-in-chief, conservatives are blessed with an almost embarrassing bounty of options. This treasure trove of candidates seeking the GOP nomination empowers conservatives and other voters concerned about the growth of ISIS with real and unprecedented freedom of choice.
Americans have given a "thumbs down" to the Obama administration's handling of the ISIS Crisis. In a CNN poll, 61 percent of Americans believe the country's fight against ISIS is going badly. This marks an increase from 58 percent concluding the same four months ago. This is a reasonable conclusion for the public to draw, given the victories ISIS has marked up on the battlefield since that time in Iraq and Syria. Also, ISIS's growing influence in Africa and elsewhere undoubtedly has reinforced and validated this rising alarm. As noted here in previous posts, ISIS enjoys a growing network and infrastructure of alliances and satellite clients from Libya to Southeast Asia.